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198             A SEARCH IN SECRET EGYPT
back to 12,000 years before the time of his visit. Herodotus, we know, was unusually careful of his facts, and righdy earned the tide of "the Father of History/' And they had further told him that "the sun had twice risen where he now sets and twice set where he now rises." The implication of this extraordinary statement is that the poles or our earth had completely changed over from their former positions, involving immense shifts of land and water. Such shifts we know, from geological research, really have occurred; but their dates carry us back to periods tremendously distant.
One result of these changes would be that the climate at the poles had formerly been tropical, instead of arctic. There is no dispute to-day, for instance, that the whole of Northern Europe, including the British Isles, was once covered with an. immense sea of ice many hundreds of feet in thickness which filled up all the valleys, and from which only the peaks of mountains and lofty hills emerged. Such a condition of the planet could only have been caused by gigantic astronomical changes. The statement of the Egyptian priests is, therefore, vindicated.
Now they possessed no science of geology as we know it to-day; they possessed only their ancient records, carved on stone obelisks, inscribed on day tablets, cut into metal plates, or written with a reed on papyri. There was also a traditional secret doctrine and history which was communicated only in the Mysteries, and then verbally, thus being handed down from mouth to ear for uncounted centuries.
How could the priests, unacquainted with geology, know of such convulsive planetary changes except from these records which they possessed? This knowledge vindicates their claim to the existence of such records; it likewise accounts for the existence of original zodiacs from which that at the temple of Dendarah was partly copied.
Ninety thousand years does not stand out as an impossible figure in the light of these facts. It does not mean that Egyptian culture necessarily existed on Egyptian soil at that timer the people and their culture may have existed upon some other continent and only later migrated to Africa—that is a point outside the scope of my present argument—but why should we be afraid to yield to the fact that they did exist?
Our histories of Egypt begin with the first dynasty, but we must remember that the country had been peopled for a long